An unfortunate misstep resulted in Elliott Purcell’s slide from the top of the Hawaii football depth chart.
In late March, the week before the start of spring training, Purcell was running up a hill when he lost his footing.
"It was slippery," said Purcell, who suffered a badly sprained left ankle.
A few days later, from his shin to his toes, his skin was purple, as if he were a vineyard’s grape stomper.
"It was really bad," he said. "I couldn’t walk (without a medical boot) for two months."
He missed all of spring practice, as well as an opportunity to compete as the No. 1 left end. When training camp started, Liko Satele was the starter and his distant cousin, Purcell, was in limbo.
Purcell said his left ankle is at "90 percent," but he remains fully committed to earning playing time. In practices, he has been part of the rotation.
As the left end, Purcell uses his left foot to push off. He said he requires an ankle brace for support. His daily rehabilitation includes ice packs, heat treatments and electrical-stimulation sessions.
"I’m working hard," he said. "I don’t want to use (the injury) as an excuse."
Patience is not part of his DNA. Last week, he completed work on a bachelor’s degree. Purcell, a senior, is debating whether to apply for a master’s program.
"I made it a point to graduate quickly so I can work on what I need to work on," said Purcell, who has a fiancee and two children. "It’s been hard, having a family and playing football and going to school full-time. Hard work pays off. Hopefully, it will pay off when I try to get a job."
Team roster expands
Yesterday’s start of UH’s fall semester coincided with the expansion of the Warriors’ active roster. About 10 players are expected to be added, including former UH basketball players Leroy Lutu and Rykin Enos.
Head coach Greg McMackin said the additions will not be allowed to practice until after they attend orientation meetings and receive the results of physical examinations.
Meanwhile, linebacker Aaron Brown, who was supposed to be featured in several defensive schemes, still has not been cleared to practice. A few days before the start of training camp, Brown suffered a sprained left ankle.
Football clinics set
There are two clinics for UH football fans.
Tonight is the first clinic for male UH fans. The clinic, held at the UH Athletic Complex, will feature an instructional session on creating a game plan, and a question-and-answer period with UH coaches and players.
Registration is at 6 p.m., with the clinic at 7.
The Heather McMackin football clinic for women will be held tomorrow at the UH Athletic Complex.
There will be instruction on football strategy, as well as a Q&A session with players and coaches. Registration is at 6 p.m., with the clinic to follow.
Each clinic is $20, and includes a "playbook" and refreshments.
For details, call 956-6508.